New schools coming to West Memphis - that means higher taxes

WATCH: Property tax increase to fund new schools in West Memphis

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — Two new schools are coming to West Memphis, but that means property taxes are going up.

This comes after a vote passed overwhelmingly this week. It could cost the taxpayer anywhere from an extra $6 to $43 a month.

FOX13 visited the oldest school in the city to find out why they need a new building.

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At West Junior High School, the school was built in 1948 and when you walk in some of the classrooms, the floors are some of the biggest problems.

That's why teachers and parents are excited about an upgrade.

Every time Annette Hearn walks into her computer training classroom, she literally has to watch her step. "I tripped over it a couple of times today already. So yes I do," she said.

Bumpy and lumpy floors with cracks aren't the only problems.

"Major challenges are you don't know from day to day, you may walk into a classroom and hole in the floor, could be a hole in the wall, you have to patch that, a door won't open," said West Junior High School Principal, Charles Tyler.

He said electrical issues are common too. The air conditioning unit has been there since 1989, and they are constantly repairing it.

Earlier this year, the district received $22.4 million from the state for new schools. The district had to match the amount or risk losing it all.

"It's a good thing for the kids. This what they need," said Hearn.

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Ben Smith told us last month he doesn't like the idea of his taxes increasing. "People is struggling right now trying to make ends meet. I don't think a lot of them can afford to have that much money coming out of their paycheck."

For teachers, it means they don't have to worry about their safety. "But one thing my floor won't be all lumped up like it is right now, 'cause over the weekend I have this huge bump in the floor because it's an old building," said Hearn.

They will likely break ground on both schools by spring or summer of next year. The other school they are replacing is also one of the oldest schools in the district.

This is the first time voters have been asked to increase their millage since 1953.